Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lucas the Traveling Crab

This gentle and visually appealing book, by David S. Rawding, tells the tale of Lucas, a European Green Crab, who gets lost, but gains friends and practical wisdom on his journey home.

When a boy plucks Lucas out of his tide pool and brings him home, Lucas quickly hides and waits until evening to escape. A friendly squirrel tells Lucas how to use the sun to tell directions, and Lucas begins his trek home. After spending a night in the forest, Lucas finally finds water. He then meets a school of river fish, who teach him how to play a new game. Eventually, Lucas meets a seagull in the city, who introduces him to french fries. However, she also knows his friends and how to get back to the ocean. Selene Seagull graciously offers to transport Lucas home.

Lucas is overjoyed to see his friends again, and teaches them to play the new game he learned from the river fish. He goes to sleep excited about the next day's adventures.

What I Like: This story is pleasant and cheerful, and Lucas is never in any real danger. He misses his friends and feels a little homesick, but he stays safe and there is always someone happy to help him out.

Illustrator Mohammad Qovaizi uses an eye-catching combination of bright and pastel watercolors. The paintings support the text and the faces are all friendly.

My three children (ages 3,6,9) all loved this book. They liked how Lucas learned new things as he traveled, the pictures and the happy ending.

What I Dislike: There wasn't much of a message in this book. The themes of friendship and enjoying the journey were understated, and I kept waiting for something to happen. There also wasn't any particular "Christian" element to the book, but it certainly contained nothing objectionable.

Some of the pages were a bit long and wordy. This meant we stayed on one page a long time. My children didn't mind, but this may be a problem for children with shorter attention spans.

Overall Rating: I would say "Good" but my children's response would be "Very Good."

Age Appeal: 4-8

Publisher Info: DSR Books, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-9826256-0-6; Paperback, $12.95

Buy it at Amazon.com for $11.65.

Special Info: A portion of the proceeds from this book are donated to non-profit agencies helping at-risk youth.

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